Email marketing is often a challenging practice for eCommerce brands to get completely right. There is a fine line between sending too many messages driving subscribers away, or underutilizing lists leaving some significant revenue potential on the table. Email marketing platforms such as Klaviyo provide a suite of tools and features to help maximize the potential returns from your marketing lists, knowing how to use those proficiently can vastly increase your sales to new and existing customers.
Here at Underground Ecom, we love everything about email marketing for eCommerce. We’ve been helping clients generate incredible results with their email lists for and in the past few years have grown into one of the leading agencies in our industry.
We wanted to expand our understanding even further and get in touch with more and more brands in the eCommerce space and learn more about them, their successes and their biggest challenges. We took some time to interview a selection of eCommerce stores who currently manage their email marketing in-house. Those interviews help shed some light on the successes and struggles faced by typical ecom stores.
In the future you can expect to see articles, data samples, data reviews from the marketplace and more from Underground Ecom posted on our blog.
We hope you find them interesting and helpful on your journey to building a more profitable email list!
The 6 Biggest Challenges With Email Marketing
There were several shared problems among our group of brand owners that were impossible to ignore.
1. Growing An Email List
Many brands either have old lists that aren’t effective or no list at all. They find it tough to fill their database with real customers who are ready to buy again and again.
Cuvee Coffee who have been in business for 24 years and who now outsource their marketing efforts commented that one of their biggest email marketing challenges, other than conversions, is growing their email list. This is a challenge that almost everyone will face that requires consistency to keep that subscriber number ticking up. We recommend finding a proven, value-driven way to get more sign-ups and implementing it as soon as you can. Something such as a simple lead magnet, or even an exclusive, enticing discount, can go a long way.
Having an email list is one thing, but making sales from it? It’s a whole other ballgame. It seems that knowing the right promotions to run and words to say is a big sticking point.
At the end of the day, no matter how beautiful your template or fonts are, you’ve got to ask yourself, “Is this optimized for conversion?”. If not, try moving your calls-to-action further up the email, and pay attention to the copy you’ve written – words sell.
This is the most common challenge faced by the eCommerce stores we interviewed and without a doubt the most important. We spoke with Soundbrenner who produce wearable technology for musicians, who shared the struggle most of us face in increasing those conversions through trial and error. This approach of incremental improvements is one that should see those conversions increase.
3. Creating Content
This one makes sense! Being creative can be hard, and unless you’re naturally inspired, figuring out what your next email will be about can be a slog! This was stated as the biggest challenge for the brand Earned Athletic Apparel and it is no wonder, producing enough varied content that is relevant and valued by your audience is no easy task.
Basing your email content around regular promotions, product launches, new bundles and even blog posts can help you build that regular stream of content without worrying that your content will become boring, repetitive or useless.
4. Avoiding The Spam Folder
This is where knowing the right words comes into play. Spam filters search for specific terms that seem, well, “Spammy”. And the more you end up in spam, the more likely you’ll continue to end up there. This is something the inflatable fishing boat company Flycraft USA who we interviewed shared as a concern as it happens far too easily.
You can find the list of “spam” words likely to send you to that dreaded folder by doing a quick Google search. Do it next time you’re writing an email, check for those words, and cut them out. That’s how you escape (and avoid) that dreaded folder.
5. Email Design & Aesthetics
We did say the words are important…but looks matter for emails too. No one wants to look at plain text emails nowadays unless you’re a very corporate, professional business. People want to see nice images, pretty fonts and colours that draw their eyes to important elements in the email.
It won’t be easy to do this – especially if you’re not a designer by nature – but it’s a necessary hardship. It takes work to make designs that are pleasing to the eye, but the extra effort will pay off with more engagement, which is a stepping stone to more sales!
One thing that worked well for the sustainable footwear company Linus was improving their branding on communication. After seeing significant growth throughout the last few years they were able to grow their team and give the necessary attention to branding which delivered much better results!
6. Send More/Send Less
We asked 10 of our brands whether they thought they should be sending more emails than they currently are or less. Out of those who answered this question…
- 5 thought they should send more (or at least more precise, targeted emails)
- 3 said their send as stable as it is
- 2 wanted to be sending fewer emails
This shows that a lot of eCom brand owners are probably taking a backseat when it comes to email marketing, so if you’re in that category, please start sending more. Provided you give something valuable in each send, and you aren’t excessive (i.e. 3 emails a day), your readers will appreciate the frequent communication!
Finding that sweet spot of volume that delivers the most conversions will often take a bit of knowhow and testing. Being in tune with your analytics is crucial for judging whether your spending habits are welcomed and engaged with, but even that has its challenges. The Danish watch store About Vintage recognise the importance of this and shared their concern over their ability to accurately monitor this with privacy measures (such as those recently taken by Apple) potentially making analytics less accurate in the future.
These 6 challenges may be very familiar to you; perhaps you face them on a weekly, even daily basis.
But now you know you’re not alone in facing them.
And trust us; from our experience, we know they can be overcome with relative ease and speed when you have the right help.
The Neglected Channel
Email marketing is a pretty big deal – our clients generated an average of 31% of their entire revenue from email last year!
Yet, quite a few eCom brands fail to give it the attention it deserves.
8 out of the 13 brands we asked said they haven’t always taken email marketing seriously.
That’s nearly 62% – quite an alarming percentage considering email’s potential power when executed correctly.
Here are some of the common reasons why brands don’t take their email as seriously as they probably should:
- No Time – simply put, they’re busy running their business and their team can’t work on emails as well as their daily roles.
- Lack of Knowledge – amazing email marketing requires expertise to pull off; many brand owners likely decide it’s not worth trying if it’ll be done at a lower standard.
- Wide Skill Sets Are Required – it’s not as simple as writing an email and pressing send. Every element, picture, and word has to be carefully crafted to make sales, usually by expert copywriters, designers and strategists.
You can get past those roadblocks yourself by taking time to develop your skills and freeing up your schedule a bit, or by working with a team of email experts.
But no matter what, if you haven’t always given email your full focus, now’s the time to do it!
That’s all for this month’s blog!
Here are the main takeaways for you:
- It’s normal to struggle with email marketing as an eCommerce brand owner (you’re not alone).
- Giving customers a reason to sign up to your list will help you grow it massively.
- Avoid using the trigger words to avoid the dreaded “spam folder”.
- Send more emails to increase engagement and conversions.
- A majority of brand owners aren’t taking email seriously; if you aren’t, now’s the time to do it.
Interesting findings, right?
Now you know what other brands are struggling with and how they view their marketing strategy, you can look at your own business and ask those same questions.
What are my biggest challenges? Should I send more or less? Do I take my email marketing seriously?
And if you want some help to answer those questions and fix those problems for good, please get in touch with us – we’d love to help.
See you in the next one!
-The UE Team
A Big Thanks!
We just wanted to say a huge thank you to all the brands that took part in our interview to make this blog post possible.
They’re all doing exciting things with their products; we’d love for you to check them out below and show them some support: